Ralph McClelland



Ralph is a finance and investment specialist with more than ten years’ experience in the pensions arena.

He is the lead partner for a range of clients on both general pensions and investment and is frequently involved in project work.

Ralph is also a member of the firm’s Public Sector team, maintaining a strong Local Government Pension Scheme practice and currently advises a number of administering authorities on their investment matters.

Recent projects

  • Advising the trustee of a £13bn scheme on the sale of its in-house investment management arm and subsequent investment re-organisation.
  • Ongoing work on the restructuring of a very large pension scheme following a significant corporate restructuring involving the creation of separate sections each with bespoke LDI arrangements. Transaction will involve separate contingent asset to support new structures.
  • Assisting on the transfer of a multi-billion pound pension scheme’s assets to the government and the ongoing advice on the subsequent investment re-organisation.
  • De-merger of a common investment vehicle for pension scheme involving the establishment of a single investment structure for ongoing activities.
  • On project team for a number of large longevity swap transactions involving multi-million pound bespoke derivatives transactions and multiple secured collateral arrangements.
  • Advising employer on custody and related security structure for trustee “escrow” style contingent asset.
  • Broad experience of a range of contingent asset arrangements including “type A” PPF guarantees, including the re-certification of such guarantees for PPF purposes.
  • Establishment and appointment of an overseas manager in a new “fund of one” structure.

Funds and investment work

Ralph’s ongoing work includes

  • Negotiation of fund documentation including alternatives structures such as:
    – private equity
    – hedge funds
    – property and real estate vehicles.
  • Appointment of segregated investment manager, including recent appointment on heavily negotiated and substantial property mandate.
  • Investment management, stock lending and custody agreements.
  • Particular expertise in fiduciary management and delegated consulting products, having advised on around 20 such appointments over the last five years.
  • ISDA and GMRA documentation.
  • Environmental, social and governance issues in investing.

General pensions

Ralph advises on general day-to-day pensions matters and recent more notable experience includes:

  • Distressed funding discussions – including proposals for a “zero contribution” recovery plan in the context of corporate restructuring and, in a separate case, advising on the legal impact of guarantee arrangements in the context of a multinational group.
  • Benefit redesign exercise – including a recent high profile benefit redesign exercise involving the establishment and documentation of a new CARE scheme for a water utility.
  • Complex merger exercises – recently involved in a number of heavily negotiated mergers including one ongoing proposal involving novel elements.


Ralph has advised at least 15 administering authorities on their investment arrangements including on a broad range of investment proposals.

He frequently advises on the application of the LGPS investment regulations and has provided legal input on pooling options and proposals.

Ralph also advises on participation in the LGPS generally and has long standing experience on admission agreements and the associated legal risks and options.

Memberships and Qualifications

Membership of professional bodies:
Association of Pension Lawyers (Full Member)

Membership of industry working groups:
Society of Pension Professionals’ investment committee

Career history

Qualified: 2004 (Called to the Bar)

Pensions experience since: 2006

Joined Sackers: 2006

Employers: Pupillage, XXIV Old Buildings (2005-2006)

Academic history


University College London (2004-2005)
Inns of Court of Law, London (2003-2004)
University of Oxford (1998-2003)

Degree: Degrees in English and Law
LLM (Master level legal degree)

Honours & Awards: 
Lincoln’s Inn Tancred Studentship for the Bar Vocational Year (2003-2004)
Christ Church Open Exhibitioner, Michaelmas Term (2000)
Harwicke Entrance Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn

Further Information

Rising star” – Thomson Reuter’s Super Lawyers UK 2014


Investment structures

Public sector

Asset-backed funding structures


Buy-ins and buy-outs


Latest News & Media

Ralph McClelland comments on LGPS fund’s move to climate-friendly multi-factor fund

Stuart O’Brien and Ralph McClelland speak at Environmental Finance roundtable on climate risk in pensions

Ralph McClelland comments on climate change campaign in Pensions Expert

Ralph McClelland comments on mandated ESG risks in FTAdviser

Sackers supports Government response to ESG consultation

Ralph McClelland speaks at Pension Investment Academy on ESG and sustainable investment

Sackers comments on impact investing

Sackers comments on ESG pressure on pension schemes

EAC report shows decision-makers are starting to push ESG through

Sackers comments on schemes’ considering fossil fuel divestment

Ralph McClelland comments on UK pension schemes slashing investment in equities in Pensions Expert

Ralph McClelland comments on fiduciary management in Pensions Expert

Sackers launches latest ESG guidance

Ralph McClelland comments on whether the LGPS is ready for Brexit in the Local Government Chronicle

Ralph McClelland comments on impact investment in Pensions Expert

Ralph McClelland writes on impact investing and the fiduciary duty for Investment & Pensions Europe

Sackers launches latest guide on buy-ins, buy-outs and longevity transactions

Ralph McClelland speaks at Pensions Europe Conference on ESG

Ralph McClelland comments on whether DC default funds are still lagging on ESG in Pensions Expert

Ralph McClelland comments on the tendency to conflate ‘ethical’ view with ESG

Latest Knowledge

Finance & investment briefing – March 2019

Finance & investment briefing – December 2018

Government response: clarifying and strengthening trustees’ investment duties

Pension trustees: clarifying and strengthening investment duties

Finance & investment briefing – September 2018

Where next for ESG? – An evolving approach for trustees

Finance & investment briefing – June 2018

Buy-ins, buy-outs and longevity transactions – A guide for trustees 2018

Finance & investment briefing – March 2018

Record Keeping: New Scheme Data Requirements

ESG and climate change for pension funds – Putting the law into practice

Buy-ins, buy-outs and longevity transactions – A guide for trustees 2019